And they shall call his name Emmanuel. Matthew 1:23 (ESV)
Christmas approached and as always, I tried to make do on a shoe-string budget. My husband pastored a tiny church, and with two preschoolers to care for, I was used to that.
The stretch for me was living in the city, where I couldn’t cut holly branches
or bring in some pine boughs from my own yard. Where I grew up, old
sleigh bells and evergreens on the back door of our farmhouse made
I remembered Mom “reverse painting” windows at the village library for
some celebration or other and thought I might tackle that. Our enormous
front window, only three feet from the city street, made our own billboard.
But what should I paint? What message should I include? You see, we lived
in Montreal, Quebec. Should my message be in English or French? Or
I decided to tackle a manger – only the manger and baby, no animals. A
deformed cow would surely turn the neighborhood off.
Somehow that didn’t satisfy me. It needed a clear message for my French
An idea came to me that Sunday, while we sang carols to the accompaniment
of the thundering old organ. Emmanuel! God is with us. It is a clear
message in both languages. A lamp behind the window made the painting
shine bright on dark December evenings.
Thank you for Emmanuel, your son Jesus, sent to live with us. Amen